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Brit accelerates furiously to leave behind his last companion Quintana and extends his lead over second-placed Mollema to an almost unassailable 4.14

Photo: A.S.O.

CHRIS FROOME

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14.07.2013 @ 16:38 Posted by Philip Tarning-Andersen

Chris Froome (Sky) underlined that he is by far the strongest rider in this year's Tour de France when he left all his rivals behind on the feared Mont Ventoux. With a strong acceleration he left behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with 1,5km to go and now has a massive 4.14 over second-placed Bauke Mollema (Belkin).

 

Chris Froome may have taken a beating in the crosswinds two days ago but when the Tour de France returned to his favoured terrains in the mountains today, he showed his rivals that they have no reason to believe that they can dispose the Brit from his yellow jersey. Having used his strong teammate Richie Porte (Sky) to severely reduce the size of the front group, he accelerated furiously on his own, caught Nairo Quintana who was already ahead and finally left behind the Colombian with 1,5km to go to take a big win on the mythical climb.

 

After a long, hot day in the saddle, the peloton hit the final 20,2km climb to the top of Mount Ventoux with a time deficit of 1.45 to Sylvasin Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who was the lone leader. 30 seconds further behind, a chase group consisting of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Markel Irizar (Radioshack), Wout Poels (Vacansoleil), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Pierrick Fedrigo, Jeremy Roy (both FDJ), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and Alberto Losada (Katusha) tried to regain contact with their former companion while the peloton was now being led by Sky who set a furious pace.

 

As Ian Stannard, Kanstantsin Siutsou, David Lopez and Geraint Thomas sped along on the front of the main group, riders quickly started to fall off. One of the first to let the peloton go was surprisingly Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) who joined the sprinters in a group that started to form behind the peloton.

 

Up ahead, Riblon accelerated and was joined by Irizar and Roy to form a chasing trio. Sagan gave up and fell back into the peloton - making a wheelie just as he was caught. Fedrigo was the next to fall back and he was joined by teammate Roy who had fallen back through the groups.

 

At this point, Thomas and Stannard and later also Lopez had finished their job and it was now left to Siutsou to power along on the front of the peloton. His pace saw the peloton catch Losada and Impey, thus leaving just 4 riders still up the road.

 

With 14,9km to go, it was over for Siutsou and that saw the peloton slow down. Tony Martin went to the front with teammate Michal Kwiatkowski in his wheel in an attempt to slow down the peloton so as to allow teammate Chavanel to increase his lead. Nonetheless, the group caught back Poels and so only three riders were still ahead.

 

Movistar could not accept the slowing of the pace and so Rui Costa moved to the front with Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) in his wheel. However, Martin was wise and decided to open up a gap between himself an Bakelants, thus once again taking out the pace of the main group.

 

Having taken a big turn, Costa looked back and saw what had happened and having used up all of his energy, he fell back to the peloton and was immediately dropped. Bakelants persisted and caught Riblon and Irizar. The latter took a huge turn on the front to assist his Belgian teammate before joining Riblon as the next riders to fall back into the peloton.

 

The main group was now led by Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who decided to chase his own teammate Chavanel and there was a moment of calmness. That changed with 13km to go when Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) attacked , quickly bridging the gap to Bakelants.

 

200m further up the road, Quintana made a very early attack and Sky chose not to react. The Colombian sped off while Bakelants was unable to follow Nieve just as the duo had caught the fading Chavanel.

 

Quintana was 8th overall and so Sky could not allow the Colombian too much of a gap. Hence, Peter Kennaugh went to the front and his hard pace dramatically reduced the size of the peloton. Andy Schleck (Radioshack) was one of the first riders to blow and very quickly, the only rider left in the main group were Kennaugh, Porte, Froome, Contador, Kreuziger, Rogers, Hernandez, Ten Dam, Mollema, Evans, Martin, Fuglsang, Peraud, Valverde, Kwiatkowski, Bardet, De Clercq, Morabito, Monfort, Rodriguez, Moreno , Gesink and Talansky.

 

Chavanel had given up and was now behind the yellow jersey group while Quintana had overtaken Bakelants. With 10,5km to go, he caught Nieve and the two climbers now formed a very strong lead duo.

 

Bakelants fell back into the peloton from which Evans had now been dropped, his teammate Morabito deciding to wait for his captain. Bakelants and Hernandez were the next to fall off while it was over for Talansky a little later.

 

With 9,2km to go, Kennaugh finished his job, leaving it to Porte to set the pace. The Australian significantly upped the pace, thus leaving Bardet, Monfort and Kwiatkowski and later also Moreno and Martin behind.

 

With 8,5km to go, Gesink and De Clercq fell off. Valverde who had had big ambitions for today, was now also a surprise victim while Fugsang also drifted back.

 

Porte was now really putting down the hammer and suddenly the only rider able to keep up with the Australian were Froome, Contador and Kreuziger. The latter could only keep up for a little while and so the two leaders were now only chased by a trio.

 

With 7,5km to go, Quintana left Nieve behind but the chasers were now getting close to the Colombian. 300m further up the road, Froome made a furious acceleration and despite Contador's best effort, he was unable to keep up with his rival. Froome sped ahead, passing Nieve who fell back to Contador.

 

With 6,8km to go, he caught Quintana and used the opportunity to take a short breather before attacking again 200m later. Quintana had looked away just at that moment and so Froome briefly managed to gap his Colombian rival. However, the Movistar rider quickly upped the pace and instead the duo started cooperating.

 

Behind, Nieve and Contador had joined forces while Porte was in between that duo and a big chase group. In that group, Fuglsang, Mollema, Ten Dam, Peraud, Rodriguez, Rogers, Kreuziger were together and De Clercq, Valverde and Moreno also managed to join them a little later. Ten Dam did all the work in an attempt to minimize the time loss of his teammate Mollema.

 

With 3,7km to go, Froome attacked again but Quintana had apparently no trouble responding to his acceleration. However, the duo constantly increased its advantage over the chasers and the gap quickly went up to more than a minute.

 

With 2km to go, Porte fell back into the chase group and moments later, Fuglsang accelerated. That spelled the end for Valverde, Moreno, Porte, Rogers and Peraud and so Ten Dam, Mollema , De Clercq and Kreuziger were now the only riders able to follow the Dane.

 

With 1,5km to go, Froome put in his final attack and this time Quintana had no response. The Colombian quickly fell far behind and from then on, there was no looking back for Froome. The race leader crossed the finish line in solo fashion to take an emphatic win 29 seconds ahead of Quintana.

 

With 1km to go, Rodriguez attacked from his group and quickly bridged the gap to Nieve and Contador. The former was the only one able to keep up with the Katusha leader and the Spanish duo crossed the line 1.23 later than Froome. Contador fell back to his teammate Kreuziger, crossing the line 17 seconds later. Fuglsang was nect while Mollema finished 8th, losing 1.46 to Froome and thus defending his 2nd place ahead of Contador.

 

Froome now takes a very comfortable lead of 4.14 into the second rest day while Contador is 11 seconds further adrift in third. The racing resumes on Tuesday with a stage to Gap that is likely to be won by a breakaway rider.

 

Starting at 14.00, you can follow that stage on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

De Gendt aggressive

The mammoth 242,5km stage to the top of the Mont Ventoux was held on Bastille Day and so almost all Frenchmen were eager to get into the early breakaway. That motivation spurred on many attacks and as the riders also enjoyed a tailwind, they covered more than 48km during the first hour and more than 50km during the second.

 

Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) were the first riders to attack but they were quickly reeled in. Instead, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) attacked and the Belgian ended up being very difficult to catch.

 

His first companions Andreas Klöden (Radioshack) and Kevin Reza (Europcar) were quickly left behind and instead he was joined by Rui Costa (Movistar), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Those three all fell off the pace as De Gendt crossed the first climb in first position and a furious chase from Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) had no chance either.

 

De Gendt finally caught

Chavanel, De Clercq and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) bridged to De Gendt but the quartet was finally brought back. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Wout Poels (Vacansoleil) attacked which allowed the former to pick up the only piint on the day's second climb but soon after the duo was reeled in.

 

This was when Chavanel, Sagan, Roy, Fedrigo, Poels, Irizar, Losada, Riblon, Impey and Julien El Fares (Sojasun) got clear and they were quickly allowed to build up a gap. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) set off in pursuit while Rolland and Christophe Le Mevel (Cofidis) followed a little later.

 

Two duos chase

The former bridged the gap to Burghardt while the latter fell back to Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) who had also attacked. Burghardt and Rolland got to within 15 seconds of the front group but then started to lose time. Astarloza and Le Mevel decided to wait for the peloton which was now led by Sky and more than 7 minutes behind.

 

Burghardt and Rolland also gave up, thus falling back into the main group. That forced Europcar to chase violently and the French team set a hard pace to bring the gap down to only 3.10.

 

El Fares drops off

Up ahead, El Fares picked up the point on the day's third climb but when the riders hit a small uncategorized ascent, the Frenchman fell off and was picked up by the peloton. Movistar had now taken over on the front of the peloton and Jonathan Castroviejo and Imanol Erviti did a huge job to keep the gap stable between 3 and 4 minutes for more than 70km.

 

Roy and Riblon were the first two riders to crest the summit of the day's 4th climb while Sagan got his reward for his offensive when he was allowed to pick up the maximum 20 points in the intermediate sprint. Behind, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish moved ahead to take the remaining points.

 

Euskaltel start to chase

With 31km to go, Euskaltel decided to up the pace and as Ruben Perez, Juan Jose Oroz and Romain Sicard set the tempo, the gap started to come down. Moments later, Sky went to the front and their acceleration saw the advantage drop below the 2-minute mark.

 

That forced Chavanel to attack and he quickly left behind his companions. When he hit the Mont Ventoux, he was still 1.45 ahead but the climb ended up being too much for the Frenchman and instead it was Froome who came out triumphant.

 

Result:

1. Chris Froome 5.48.45

2. Nairo Quintana +0.29

3. Mikel Nieve +1.23

4. Joaquin Rodriguez 

5. Roman Kreuziger +1.40

6. Alberto Contador

7. Jakob Fuglsang +1.43

8. Bauke Mollema +1.46

9. Laurens Ten Dam +1.53

10. Jean-Christophe Peraud +2.08

 

General classification:

1. Chris Froome 61.11.43

2. Bauke Mollema +4.14

3. Alberto Contador +4.25

4. Roman Kreuziger +4.28

5. Laurens Ten Dam +4.54

6. Nairo Quintana +5.47

7. Jakob Fuglsang +6.22

8. Joaquin Rodriguez +7.11

9. Jean-Christophe Peraud +7.47

10. Michal Kwiatkowski +7.58

 

Points classification:

1. Peter Sagan 377

2. Mark Cavendish 278

3. Andre Greipel 223

4. Marcel Kittel 177

5. Alexander Kristoff 157

 

Mountains classification:

1. Chris Froome 83

2. Nairo Quintana 66

3. Mikel Nieve 53

4. Pierre Rolland 51

5. Roman Kreuziger 28

 

Youth classification:

1. Nairo Quintana 61.17.30

2. Michal Kwiatkowski +2.11

3. Andrew Talansky +6.45

4. Romain Bardet +18.03

5. Arthur Vichot +49.18

 

Teams classification:

1. Team Saxo-Tinkoff  183.01.46

2. Belkin +3.36

3. Ag2r +8.03

4. Movistar +12.15

5. Radioshack +16.19

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